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Lumpkin meets with legislators

Bainbridge High School 2008 salutatorian and Georgia Southern Student Government Sen. Merrie “Allyson” Lumpkin, who represented SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) chapter, met with Congressmen Sanford Bishop and Saxby Chambliss recently to discuss teen traffic safety issues.

Lumpkin, also, made the second semester dean’s list at Georgia Southern University with a 4.0 average. She is a sophomore student and Student Government senator in the University Honors Program majoring in pre-broadcasting and communication arts. Lumpkin is the daughter of Melvin and Linda B. Lumpkin of Bainbridge.

The legislative visit was the conclusion of the four-day 2009 SADD National Conference, which brought together nearly 500 youth and adults in Washington, D.C., July 12-15 to share best practices in educating their peers and promoting positive decision-making.

As part of the SADD National Conference, youth leaders from across the nation attended workshops aimed at providing students with information about topics critical to youth health and safety, such as underage drinking, teen violence and suicide, driving safety, diversity and bullying. They participated in motivational activities and presentations aimed at exchanging new approaches and gathering ideas that they can now share with the community and develop into events for their SADD chapter.

A special focus of this year’s conference was youth advocacy, and students learned about public policy and working with legislators to accomplish their goals. The conference is held in a different city each year to afford young people a new cultural experience. In Washington, D.C., this year, students were provided an opportunity to participant in a rally on Capitol Hill to promote youth health and safety issues.

“SADD students from our school are dedicated to helping our peers make safe, positive decisions,” said Lumpkin, whom has served on the National Student Leadership Council for SADD. “It was exciting to meet with other youth who share the same mission. We have learned a lot from each other.”

Most recently, Lumpkin was appointed to the America’s Promise Youth Impact Network, which is an initiative started by retired Gen. Colin Powell to help with America’s dropout rate. Lumpkin attended this academy in Washington, D.C., from May 30 to June 1, 2009.